Few recipes have achieved the status of no-knead bread. If you’re looking for a way to allow even a toddler you help you in your kitchen, this recipe may be perfect. For anyone who doesn’t have the time to sit and knead bread, or who doesn’t have the wrist strength to push through a bunch of dough, this is an essential recipe. The original no-knead bread recipe was given to the New York Times by Jim Lahey, the owner of the Sullivan Street Bakery. You will have to give the dough 24 hours to ferment, so if you want this to be ready for a party, be sure to start it about a day in advance.
- 3 cups all-purpose (or bread) flour
- 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- cornmeal, wheat bran, extra flour as needed
Combine the flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Add 1 5/8 cups water and stir until it is blended. The dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let it rest for at least 12 hours, preferably 18 hours at room temperature. (Ideally your room is heated or cooled to exactly 70 degrees.)
During your 12-to-18-hour break, go on with your life. If you start this at 6 am before you go into work, you can bake and serve the bread in time for a late dinner.
The dough is ready when the surface has bubbles dotting across the top. Flour a work surface (that means just put flour over it.) Place the dough, sprinkle it with flour and then fold it over once or twice. Cover it with plastic wrap and let it rest for 15 minutes.
Using just a little bit of extra flour, shape the dough into a ball. Coat a cotton towel with flour, wheat bran or corn meal and let the dough rise for about 2 hours. 1 1/2 hours in, heat your oven to 450 degrees. Put a heavy covered pot that holds between 6 and 8 quarts in the oven. When it is ready, the dough will have doubled in size and will be springy.
Make sure your oven is at 450 degrees. Take the covered pot out of the oven and place the dough in it upside down, so the seam side is up. This will likely be messy, but that is fine. Once you’re done, cover the pot with the lid and bake for 30 minutes, then remove the lid and bake for another 15 to 30 minutes.